UNLV President says "No other system has been hit this hard, this fast"
Las Vegas, NV - UNLV President Neal Smatresk says this is the worst time for education in the history of Nevada.
Smatresk hosted a town hall Tuesday evening to discuss sweeping cuts that could be the kiss of death for a number of university programs.
Hundreds of faculty, staff, and students filled the UNLV ballroom to hear the president speak.
"To date no other system has been hit this hard this fast," Smatresk says from the podium.
What Smatresk says brings smiles to no one. Instead an air of dread fills the room as they're told $9 million is gone starting July 1st. This time there is no excluding the curriculum.
"My adrenaline is charging, yeah very depressed, very sad," Professor of Woman Studies and Department Chair, Dr. Lois Helmbold says.
Helmbold can't believe her lifelong passion for teaching and learning is expendable.
"Are you worried your program will be cut?" Action News Reporter, Heather Klein, asks.
"Sure, but I'm also worried other programs will be cut. I've been teaching for forty years and this is the worst its been," Helmbold answers.
"The worst its been" are words we're hearing often.
"I think we're in uncharted territory," President Smatresk says.
Unfortunately its going to get worse. In the last three years UNLV lost 30% of its state funding and by 2011, estimates put the losses around 50%.
"The dream of economic diversification and a healthy and prosperous Nevada I think is vanishing," Smatresk says.
With the Millennium Scholarship fund now running out and tuition increases inevitable, even if a students classes are available, that doesn't meant they can afford them.
Smatresk plans to cut five million from administration and the other four million from academics.
He sent out a list of twenty of the most expensive majors to the university to get input on where and what to cut.
UNLV departments identified for curricular review:
· Civil & Environmental Engineering
· Clinical Laboratory Science
· Computer Science
· Educational Leadership
· Educational Psychology
· Electrical & Computer Engineering
· Environmental & Occupational Health
· Health Physics
· Marriage & Family Therapy
· Mechanical Engineering
· Management Information Systems
· Physical Therapy
· Recreation & Sports Management
No word yet on when exactly the decision will be made on which programs to cut. Stay with Action News as we continue to follow this budget crisis.